Sports Insight Episode 15 – Student Team Managers
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Sports Insight Episode 15 – Student Team Managers

Music Hi everyone, I’m Cliff Elgin and this is
Sports Insight. In the MCPS high
school football programs, a lot of student athletes get the opportunity
to practice and play football at a high level. But football teams are big, and
they have a lot of moving parts. And that
creates opportunities for many more people to contribute to the success of
the team. Adults can get involved as
coaches or booster club members, and students can be statisticians, video techs,
and equipment managers. So let’s go behind
the scenes at Richard Montgomery High School, where a dedicated parent volunteer
and a talented group of students managers are the key parts of the Rockets
football program. The start of a new school year means a new
high school fall sports season in Montgomery County as some ten thousand MCPS students
participate in fall season interscholastic sports. To the public, being a player on the field,
or a member of the cheer squad are the most visible
examples of student involvement. But another
way for a student to be involved in a team sport
is to be a manager – an important position that
coaches rely upon. “The water element is a big part of what
they do of course, bringing water to stations, make
sure the guys are properly hydrated at all times,
but it’s much more than that as far as their
position on the team. Running a program of 120 players
and 7 coaches, anytime I need anything, whether it’s some equipment, if we left
something inside, if I need something printed, you know countless tasks like
that, they take off my plate.” At Richard Montgomery High School the football
and wrestling team managers are hired and led by
Monique Barber, a parent volunteer who has been a
fixture at the Rockville school for 11 years. While the
student managers have fun and also earn student service learning hours, Ms. Barber makes sure
the experience also prepares them for their future. “We’ve got spirit, yeah” “When they first come in at my first manager’s
meeting I want them to understand that it’s a job. We take it very seriously. Because you may want
to do this on the next level. I have a dress code
that I make the girls go by. I check their grades. I really want them to be on point, because
you’re going to need all of these things.” “Once I learned everything that Ms. Barber
could offer, and how responsive her girls are to
her and the needs of the team, it’s been an incredible
fit the last couple years.” “We’re here every day. Whenever the team reports
we’re here 30 minutes prior to them, getting things ready. They fix equipment, they do
laundry, it’s unlimited, unlimited jobs that we do here.” The Rockets certified athletic trainer is
Victoria Simonetti, and she also relies on the help
of the managers. “A lot of times when football practice
is going on there’s other home events. So
they’re out at every practice, so they’re kind
of an extra set of eyes for me, they’re great,
they give me a call, so and so’s down, so and
so needs help. What do you want me to do to
get the process started? So I’d be lost
without them.” “Behind the scenes we do so much that
people don’t actually know, when people realize it they’re like, Wow you guys do
a lot! I’m like, yeah, we’re here a lot!” There are 6 managers for the Rockets
football team this year – three dedicated to the varsity team and three for
junior varsity. Raquel and Kylee are
seniors with years of experience, so while they help manage the varsity
football team, they have also been empowered by Ms. Barber to help
train the less experienced managers. “A lot of people don’t understand that
things that happen behind the scenes are just as important as what is out on
the field. You know that kids aren’t
passing out on the field because you’re the one that’s helping them, and the
fact that like I can fix a helmet and that some kids don’t even know
how to do it and they’re on the team, that makes me feel great because
I know that I have that special quality that like, can really benefit
someone. And even the simplest
things, it makes a huge difference.” “Raquel and Kylee, I see them pretty
much every day. They help when like,
say someone has an asthma attack or something, they just always have
our inhalers ready for us.” “It’s definitely more than just water
that’s why we call them managers and not water girls, because, they
are there to manage and take care of us, make sure we are performing
at peak performance.” “It’s not just watching the game, it’s
a job too. So I have to really pay
attention to when they come off. I have to spot everyone, with refilling
and just making sure that they stay hydrated.” “No football team would be successful
without great managers and I really do feel like our success is in part because
of our managers doing so well and taking so much care of us.” “Thank you” “We’ve had a really good group of guys,
please, thank you… they really appreciate, they want to help us out
and they really respect the girls and it’s just, it’s a great program to be
a part of at RM.” Mrs. Barber is more like a second
mom to me. Like it’s not just
management she teaches you, it’s like morals, umm, like discipline. We’re sisters, we’re like a little family
the managers, and she just teaches us a whole lot, like I don’t know what
I would do without her.” During Ms. Barber’s time at Richard
Montgomery High School, the team managers have always been girls. But head coach Josh Klotz also has
junior Shane Kullen helping the team in another very important area – video. “And every day now he grabs the
camera on our big sports scope, and takes control, and films our team
sessions, our group sessions. Now
we get to look at the film, reteach it and then go out at practice and
fix those mistakes so, an invaluable resource that Shane
is for us.” “If you don’t know which way to move
the joystick, if you don’t know how to zoom out, and if you just don’t know
how to use this technology correctly, you’re gonna have bad game film. I just really want to be included. I
like having some group that I can go to, mostly every day which is, this is
great. And it’s nice to be in the
football group.” “Research shows that when you are
a part of something in the school, an extracurricular activity whether
it’s a club, sport, theater, whatever it is, you are more successful
academically. So just having that
bond, being part of something I think really leads to their success
in school as well.” “We always joke around that even
though we spend more time at football during football seasons
we get better grades because you literally have those 4 hours
when you get home because you still want sleep, you have to eat,
you have to do your homework, you’ve got to shower and all that
kind of stuff, so you really learn how to like, ironically, you learn
how to manage your time.” Over the last ten years, Monique
Barber has been a role model for the students she’s
hired during football and wrestling seasons. She is a local entrepreneur
who runs a party planning business in the Rockville area. In addition to
that and raising her own family, she finds the time to volunteer for MCPS. “People always ask me, you don’t get
paid? You don’t get paid for it,
but I actually do. I really do,
when I see those kids move on and years later they come back and they
have this job in athletics or they’re doing something with a college team,
that’s my payment… and it makes me happy.” And we’re back on sports insight. I’m joined
by Kathy Green our new athletic specialists and formerly of Sherwood
High School. And Jett Clarke a junior at
Sherwood High School who’s going to talk to us a little bit about managing some
teams over at Sherwood. But first Jett I want to ask you when
you decided to get into the managing has it been what you expected, has it been
more fun, different? Talk a little bit. So it’s
it’s been a lot more than I could have ever imagined like I’ve made so many
friendships. I’ve just had a blast
playing the sports because I get to interact with the kids and then just
just having it’s a great time managing. It’s really a great time. So you do, you
manage both the handball and the allied softball in the spring, and then you play
basketball in the winter. Yeah. Which do you like better the handball
or the Allied softball? Which do you have
more of a role with? So I probably have
more of a role with handball, because my freshman year I played handball and I
kind of know the game a lot better than allied softball. So I have more fun with
handball honestly but I still enjoy allied softball a whole lot too. So Kathy
you spent a long time as the AD over at Sherwood and I’m sure you dealt with
plenty of athletes and the managers. Talk
a little bit about how at Sherwood, the importance of the managers and how you
recognize them. We talked a little bit
before we got him on air how you recognize the managers at the end of the
year. Well managers are the eyes and ears
of our athletics program. They’re the,
they transition, they’re the transition between the players and the coaches. They
do so many different things at Sherwood they’re running scorebooks they’re, in
Jett’s case helping kids get from class down to practice. And essentially at the
end of the year we do have our booster club the warrior club sponsors a
scholarship for managers. And managers
submit an application and then they review the application based on the
criteria and they’re given a thousand dollar scholarship to senior
managers. And then they mentioned a
little bit in the piece about the SSL hours that students can earn as managers. And for a little while that went away
with MCPS, but we’ve brought it back and I think it’s a, it’s something they
should absolutely earn because that they work harder sometimes than the coaches
even. Absolutely when you think about the
time the managers put in, plus you also have to remember that they’re
still taking seven classes and they still have homework, yet they’re out
there every day. And a lot of times their
efforts do go unrecognized because they’re behind the scenes. And so it’s
really important that our coaching staff really embrace managers because without
them sometimes things just don’t get done. The coaches have so much on their
plate and they don’t think sometimes to to remember to oh I got to fill the
water, I got to make sure they AED’s out here. I got to make sure that someone’s
in contact with the trainer if someone gets hurt and sometimes the manager is
that go-between. And I know Jett when I
used to coach basketball one of my saddest times was when I’d have a 4-year
manager leaving because I’m like, I can replace the players but how do I replace
the manager. Has there been any times
when coach Nicholson, who you work with with your two teams you manage, she ever
just turned to you almost in a panic and kind of save the day? So I like, I like
to call myself her assistant coach because I really help her run
practices, get waters do everything. So
she, I think she relies on me. She
probably doesn’t want me saying that but, I help out a lot and she, she, she’ll get
in panic sometimes but I’m just always there to calm everybody down because I
have a pretty chill demeanor with this stuff and just get everything rolling
smoothly. Talk a little bit more, I want you
to be a little more specific about some of the relationships you developed with
the players on the teams that you’ve managed. Okay so I manage with a couple
of my friends. A couple of my good
friends, so that’s of course a friendship that’s only been strengthened by that. And then players with special needs I’ve
developed really tight bonds with a few of the kids that I’ve been playing with
since freshman year and I can consider myself good friends. And I’m really just
as a manager I’m part of the team so everybody everybody it’s a really
tight-knit family on an allied sports team. And then Miss Nickels the coach,
she’s, she’s really like a family member to me. We’ve, we’ve spent so much
time with each other these past two-and-a-half years and it’s just, I’ve
made tons of bonds especially with Miss Green, I’ve gotten to know her pretty
well through managing it’s just, lots of bonds have been made and it’s great. Would you recommend it to other people? I like most definitely. I would
definitely recommend playing it, giving playing a try and if that’s not for you
manage. It’s always fun from just
having little roles to running the scoreboard keeping the books or just
playing a big role in helping with practices and being the head manager
like me. So Kathy that’s something I
want talk about, Jett kind of just mentioned is, you know, we can only keep so
many people in so many teams. So there
may be students who aren’t quite ready to participate athletically on the team. But this is a great chance for them to
be a part of a group. Absolutely and it
gives them a chance to identify with a particular group in the school so that
when they’re in the hallways or when they’re in classes or they need help
with the class, they have that family to rely on to, to help them out. So
absolutely, being a manager is all about just developing relationships with
adults, with student athletes, with peers and it’s, it’s a phenomenal experience
for students that just don’t really particularly want to play a sport but
want to be involved in a sport. All right
Jett I’m gonna put you on the spot before we
leave here. What’s the one thing you’ll
take away from your whole managing experience when you head off in a couple
years off to college? Wow, the one thing
I’ll take away is probably, probably like just always, I like, I would always panic
and get a very competitive nature. But with
allied sports especially I’ve learned to just take a chill approach to everything. Always be focused on like positivity and
like really hyping the kids up getting them excited. Just taking a more positive
less competitive view and just being a lot more relaxed with everything. Allied
sports managing has really helped me just become much more calm person and
just much more positive person. And I think that’s a great place to end
because you’ve kind of emphasized how we’re always learning through sports and
you’re learning through managing even though you’re playing sports all the
time as well. I want to thank everybody
for joining us it’s a great place to end. Thank you Kathy, thank you Jett for
coming in to be a part of our show about team managers and now we’ll have one
last note for this episode. Recently the MCPS athletics family lost
one of our own when Walter Hardy passed away unexpectedly. Walt was an MCPS
product having graduated from Paint Branch in 1985. Walt, or Wally as some
of us affectionately called him, returned to teach and coach at Paint Branch for
17 years before moving on to become the Athletic Director at
Kennedy for two years and then being named the AD at Sherwood this past
spring. Personally, I first got to know
Walt 20 years ago when I began my basketball coaching career in the county. Like anyone who knew Walt, as soon as you
knew him you were a friend. Unfortunately
that also meant you were fair game to be a target of his humor. Walt was a hard worker, enjoyed a good
time, and had the biggest best heart of just about anyone you had ever met. Rest in peace Wally, we already miss you.

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